Magazines

Kit Rachlis steps down at Los Angeles Magazine

Here's the email Kit Rachlis sent about his departure as editor of Los Angeles. Mary Melton moves up from number two.

Hi,

When Emmis granted my book leave last year, I promised Debbie Paul, the company’s editorial director and my boss, that I would continue to edit the magazine for at least a year after my return. Well, a little more than a year has passed since I came back, and I have found myself wrestling with the same restlessness that made me want to take the leave in the first place. So it is with mixed feelings that I’m letting you know that three weeks ago I decided it was time for me to leave Los Angeles magazine. My last day will be June 26. Mixed because the last nine years have been the most enjoyable of my work life, and mixed because I’m looking forward to jumping into projects-- ­particularly the book­ -- that I’ve been putting off. What I don’t have any mixed feelings about is that Mary Melton is succeeding me. From the beginning she has been co-architect of the magazine, responsible for many of its most ambitious and creative ideas. I can’t think of anyone who has Mary’s combined knowledge of L.A. and what it takes to be a magazine editor.

It is an understatement to say I’m enormously proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last nine years. Seven National Magazine Award nominations, 31 CRMA golds, 16 inclusions in the Best American anthologies (Best American Essays, Best American Crime Writing, etc,), two James Beard Awards, a Casey Medal, and on and on­ -- those are just the obvious emblems of how the magazine has achieved a national reputation. Far more important is that every month we affected readers’ lives. We helped them navigate this extraordinary and extraordinarily complex city. We helped them understand the city with greater clarity and depth. I’d also like to think that maybe we changed the perception of L.A. among those who don’t live here. Equally important, we created a community of work where writers and editors, photographers and illustrators felt free to take chances, where they were engaged and heard, where we knew not just how to agree with one another but how to disagree. That’s huge, and I have no doubt Mary will perpetuate this culture and also make it her own. There’s moment at the end of every close­ -- the magazine’s almost out the door, everyone is recovering from intense days and late nights­ -- when Debbie Kim tapes a Readers Digest-sized version of the magazine on the wall by the art department. It is, in many ways, my favorite moment of the process. Everything­ -- heds and captions, copy-editing and fact-checking, stories and art­ -- has come together. For the first time, I can see the entire magazine spread out in front of me. Even when I’m critical of an issue, I’ve always found it a moment of deep satisfaction. I know how much effort and thought and imagination and worry on everyone’s part went into the issue, and it shows on those miniature pages on the wall. Then we have to start over again. I will always miss that moment. Which is another way of saying. I will miss all of you and can’t thank you enough. Kit



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